Walkways are an essential part of a comfortable, beautiful home. They serve in a functional capacity by providing a dry place to walk so that your shoes stay clean and your grass stays healthy. Walkways also provide aesthetic benefits by framing up sections of the landscape and meshing with the overall style of the home. Here are four things you should do when you have a walkway to build and maintain.
There are countless options for walkway surfaces, from concrete to hand-laid stones. Each of these has its advantages. If you have young children or elderly residents in the home, something smoother will be best. Barring that, a textured walkway of natural stone could be a great choice. Whatever route you go, be sure before you get construction material delivery that is compatible with your lifestyle. Simply think through what the primary use of your walkway will be and who will be using it most. If you plan on staying in this home for a long time, it would be important to think about what your future needs might be.
Water is the enemy of any construction project, and a walkway is no different. When water accumulates under a hard surface, it will soften the soil beneath and cause the walkway to shift, crack, twist, or otherwise become distorted. You will need a solid foundation to prevent this shifting from happening. Before placing the first stone or setting the first concrete form, lay down an adequate layer of gravel. This will prevent water from gathering immediately under your walkway.
Perhaps the only thing more destructive than water is ice. If you live in a temperate area with winter freezes and thaws, you will quickly learn this if your walkway hasn’t been properly built. Seams and gaps in the surface will fill with water, which will freeze and slowly tear the surface apart. Make sure all mortar joints are thoroughly sealed and that concrete is checked each fall and any cracks filled. You can also prevent ice from forming by regularly salting your walkway and melting ice as it shows up. Simple observation and maintenance will help your walkway stay intact.
The edges of walkways are the most dangerous part. No matter how wide the walkway is, there will always be someone walking near the edge. If you haven’t spread soil along those edges and added more after settling, you will quickly find many turned ankles and stubbed toes in your household. Also be sure that there is adequate vegetation or landscaping to keep the backfill in place.
Walkways are an essential feature of a home. They allow you to keep the home (and your shoes) clean and beautiful. Whether you’re building your home new or have found that you need more walkways, good design and construction are essential. Following the above tips is a great start. With a properly-built walkway, your home and yard will be beautiful, safe, and clean.